Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 19

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Beatrice staggered out of the bank like a drunk woman, her mind replaying those moments with Shadreck when she should have questioned things instead of blindly putting her trust in the love of a sixty year old man over his much younger wife.

Beatrice’s confidence that age was enough to keep her man had made her so shallow that she could not imagine Shadreck betraying her or leaving her for another woman. In her head, he was the lucky one for having found himself such a beautiful young wife who could love him as much as she showed him she did.

She was aware of Shadreck’s wondering eyes once in a while but what man wasn’t like that? She had given him a home and a family that he so desperately wanted and she had faith that these things together where enough to seal their fate together until such a time when he died and she would start afresh with a much younger man.

Not once had she pictured that scenario playing the other way round.

The foul taste of the betrayal and the shock lingered in her mouth and made her stomach churn in disquietude. She clutched her stomach as she started walking towards the parking lot, stopping once in a while to find something to hold on and to catch her breath.

Her heart was racing, fast and loud, blocking out all other sounds around her. One of the shoppers at the mall, a gentleman in his early thirties approached her and placed a hand on her to help steady her.

“Are you okay madam?” the young man asked the emotionally and physically drained Beatrice who was holding on to a wall, anxiously waiting for her vision to become steady so she could cross the road leading to the parking lot.

Beatrice slowly lifted her head up to look at the man holding her and she shrugged his hand away.

“Get away from me!” She yelled at him, drawing the attention of everyone in sight.

“Calm down, am just trying to help.” The gentleman said. “You look a little disoriented. I am a doctor….”

“I have my own personal physician,” she snapped. “I don’t need some random stranger touching me and trying to take advantage of me. Leave me the hell alone.”

The poor man raised his hands in surrender and walked away from her.

Beatrice rushed across the road and was almost bashed by an oncoming vehicle. The driver went at his hooter with all his might and Beatrice stopped to shout at him.

“Run me over if you dare you jerk!” She shouted.

The man simply gaped at her in absolute disbelief and waited for her to cross over to the car park.

She got into her car and drove like a mad woman to her house, all the while desperately trying to get hold of Shadreck on his cell.

I lost my phone in the process and didn’t bother to get a new one since I knew I would be home soon. His words echoed through her head and she sent her phone flying in the air.

Finally at home, Beatrice busted into her house screaming her husband’s name but no response came.

“Mum,” Mark was standing at the bottom of the stairs calling out to his mother who was busy banging doors and shouting upstairs.

“Where is your father?” Beatrice shouted from the top of the stairs.

“How the hell am I supposed to know?” the teenager answered. “I got here just a few minutes ago.”

“And your sister, is she back yet?” Beatrice asked. “Moola!” She yelled out.

“Mum!” Mark yelled back. “You are going to break all the bulbs with your screams. Calm down. Did something happen? Is this about Moola’s wedding?”

“It’s none of your business young man,” Beatrice turned and walked to her bedroom.

Down the stairs, Mark was shaking his head slowly. “Tsk tsk tsk…menopause,” he said and went into the living room to watch TV.

Beatrice was on her computer furiously and desperately trying to log in to her bank account online but her password kept getting rejected.  She was about to throw the laptop down when she heard the door downstairs open.

She ran out of the bedroom and peered down the stairs and saw Moola enter the house.

“What’s wrong with you too?” the oblivious Mark asked his sulking sister.

“Don’t talk to me today if you want to live.” Moola said and started heading towards the stairs.

Beatrice met her at the bottom of the stairs. “Why is your phone off!” She asked her daughter.

“I have been trying to get hold of you for hours now. Did you talk to your father? I saw that you were the last person he called from the landline. Do you know where he is?”

Moola’s eyes as she looked at her mouth were packed with contempt and scorn.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Beatrice asked.

Moola started shaking her head slowly. “You disgust me.” She told her mother and tried to walk past her to get on the stairs.

But Beatrice grabbed her hand and pulled her back. “How dare you talk to me like that young lady!? So what if you were dumped? That doesn’t give you the right to be this disrespectful to your mother. Are you the first person in the world to be jilted?”

“Respect?” Moola pursed her lips at her. “Did I just hear you talk about respect, mother?” She deliberately stressed the last word and then scoffed. “You are one to talk.”

“Why are you talking to me like this?” Beatrice demanded to know.

Meanwhile, Mark was watching the two women in amusement, saying out scores depending on whom he felt gave the most astounding retort.

“I should have been recording this…if only my battery wasn’t low.” He said to himself, looking at his phone to see his battery life marked in red.

“I’m too tired and depressed to fight with you right now. I’m going to take a nap.” Moola said and started stepped away from her mother to get on the stairs but again, Beatrice grabbed her back.

“What do you mean I am one to talk?” Beatrice asked.

Moola looked down at the part of her hand where her mother was gripping. “You are hurting me,” she said.

“I won’t let go until you tell me why you are being such a brat!” Beatrice yelled.

“You want to know?” Moola asked. “Okay, am going to tell you. Dad is gone and it’s all your fault!”

The smile on Mark’s face disappeared within the blink of an eye.

“What do you mean your dad is gone?” Beatrice asked.

“He is gone! He has left us!” Moola shouted. “He got so tired of your lies that caused him to lose all of our money and he just couldn’t deal with all the misfortunes you’ve brought this family.”

“What are you talking about?” Beatrice asked, shaking all over and her eyes dancing in confusion.

“What are you talking about sis?” Mark had joined them at the bottom of the stairs to echo his mother’s words. “What do you mean dad is gone?”

Moola turned towards her younger brother, the puzzled look on his face immediately brought tears to her eyes.

“What’s wrong Moola? Did something happen to dad?” Mark asked again, his voice too shaking from the imaginations running through his mind.

“Answer your brother!” Beatrice shouted and started shaking her daughter. “Where is your father?”

Moola pushed her mother away with so much force and sent her tumbling backwards.

She then turned to her brother. “Go to your room right now and park all your stuff. We are leaving this house today.” And she ran up the stairs living her brother and mother in shock.

Beatrice quickly got up to her feet and ran after her daughter, catching her right outside her bedroom.

“Why are you behaving like this?” Beatrice asked. “What did your father tell you?”

“He told me everything mother!” Moola said. “About the lies you’ve told us all these years, your dirty secrets, how you seduced someone else’s husband, had a daughter with him and when he refused to marry you, you abandoned that child.

“I know that that child is that Evelyn girl who it turns out is now married to Kelvin, the man I was scheduled to marry tomorrow, the man who it turns out is the brother to the woman whose husband you seduced twenty something years ago.

“That woman died right outside your place and her father committed suicide a few days later because he could not live with the guilt of watching his daughter die right in front of him and not being able to protect her.”

The shock of Moola’s words sent Beatrice reaching for the top rails of the stairs. However, Moola was not, even for a second touched by her mother’s desperate and unfortunate state. She was not in the mood to be taken in by her manipulation.

She followed her where she was, crouched and desperately gripping the rail for support.

“How did you…how….” Beatrice’s quivering lips were keeping her from uttering anything sensible. She stammered her way through her sentences and Moola could only shake her head in disappointment at watching her mother crumble down so easily.

Unaware of Mark’s presence who was still standing at the bottom of the stairs, Moola went at her mother again.

“Mrs Kangwa?” Moola continued. “You remember don’t you?” She asked. “Of course she looks different now but that only goes to show just how determined she was to make you pay for what you did to her family.

“Because you were so greedy for other people’s things, things you did not deserve, you dragged us all down with you and now look where we are; I was engaged and then jilted by a man that didn’t even love me, dad’s businesses kept hitting stumbling blocks because there were people out there punishing him for the wrongs  that you committed.

“He lost all of his fortune due to a trap that Kelvin’s mother set up for him and now we have nothing. Thanks to you, some woman was sent into dad’s path to seduce him and take him away from you and now he would rather be with that family instead of us. That’s how much he detests you mother.”

Beatrice appeared almost out of breath. She was gasping for air, hitting her chest with one hand and using the other to steady herself against the rail of the staircase.

“It can’t be…that’s…that’s…not…true….” Beatrice was whispering, her hand softly hitting her chest in her desperation to calm her racing heart.

Slowly, the walls around her started drawing closer and closer, threatening to squeeze her into oblivion.

When everything else around started fading, Beatrice could no longer make out her daughter’s screaming words. She could see her mouth move when she tried to look up at her but she could not hear her.

Tasting for the last time the saltiness of all her sins now painted in liquid onto her face;

Beatrice hit the ground and right before losing consciousness, she heard her two children call out to her from a distance.

“Mum!!!!”

* * *

Somewhere in Zanzibar

Evelyn was awakened by the smell of bacon in the room. She opened her eyes and found a smiling Kelvin holding a tray of breakfast over her sleeping figure. She slowly sat up and rubbing her eyes said;

“That smells sooo good.”

“I know,” Kelvin said, laying the tray on her laps.

However, no sooner had Evelyn come in close contact with the food than she rushed out of bed and into the bathroom to throw up.

But nothing came out.

Kelvin was right behind her, watching her struggle to vomit with a proud grin on his face.

Evelyn raised her head to look at him in disapproval. “How can you smile like that when I am close to vomiting?”

“I told you,” Kelvin was saying, leaning the side of his body against the door frame and crossing his arms over his chest. “You are pregnant.” He said, still smiling.

“I am not!” Evelyn said. “It’s that shrimp you made me eat last night. I felt like vomiting the moment I put it in my mouth. I told you, am really not a fun of sea food.”

Evelyn spat, flashed and walked over to the sink to wash her face.

Kelvin went to stand behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind.

She smiled and stopped whatever she doing. “What do you think you are doing?” She asked him.

Kelvin laughed. “Hugging my wife good morning.” He proudly stated.

“It still feels so surreal,” She told him, raising her hand to look at her ring. “Are we really married?” she asked.

“Of course we are,” Kelvin said. “And you could be carrying a Minnie-me or Minnie-you in here.” He was gently rubbing her tummy.

Evelyn grabbed his arms and pushed him away. “I told you, I am not pregnant. You can even iron something on my stomach without hitting any bumps.” She grabbed a towel from the rail, dried her face and walked passed Kelvin back to their room.

Kelvin followed her and grabbed her by the hand. He turned her to face him and with a serious expression on his face, he asked, “is it that you don’t want to carry my baby?”

Evelyn chuckled at the absurdity of his unexpected question. “Why would you think that?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” Kelvin shrugged his shoulders. “It’s just that…that first time I suggested lying to my mother about you being pregnant, you freaked out…and every time I ask you to get a pregnancy test, you insist that you are not. I was kind of hoping that you would be as excited as I am at the possibility of….”

Evelyn put a finger on his lips. “Shhh,” she said.

Kelvin stopped talking.

She put her hands on both sides of his face and pulled him down towards her, gave him a long deep kiss and then released him.

Satisfied by the sudden turn of events, but still confused by the meaning of it, Kelvin was smiling and giving his new bride a questioning look at the same time.

“I’m scared,” Evelyn said, this time wrapping her arms around his waist.

“What are you scared of?” Kevin asked.

“What if we take a test and it turns out I am not pregnant?” She said. “I really want to be pregnant with your child but I also don’t want to jinx it by hoping. The only reason I am safe and alive is because we told your mother that I was carrying her grandchild. What if it takes a while for us to….”

Before she could finish, Kelvin grabbed her by the back of her head and planted a kiss on her forehead.

“I know you are pregnant,” he said with so much conviction.

“How can you be so sure? Have you ever made a woman pregnant?”

Kelvin laughed. “Hell no, you are definitely and most certainly my first womb.”

She laughed. “Then how can you be so sure?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just feel it.” and then he walked over to the dressing table, opened the top drawer and removed a pregnancy testing kit from a box.

“What?” Evelyn said in surprise. “When did you buy that?” She walked over to him and took the tester from him. “Unbelievable,” she said.

“I got it this morning while you were sleeping. There’s a pharmacy right outside the hotel. Go in there and try,” he was pointing to the bathroom.

“I am just from peeing!” Evelyn reminded him.

“Dammit!” he said.

Evelyn laughed.

“Can’t you force it?” Kelvin asked. “There’s always that bit that remains after….”

“Kelvin!” She threw him a disconcerting look.

Embarrassed, Kelvin turned and disappeared into the other room of their suite.

Evelyn followed him and went to sit on his lap, blocking his view of the TV. She held his head in place and told him, “I pee every five minutes, have you forgotten?”

Kelvin’s face completely lit up. He scooped her up in the air and started spinning around.

“I think I am going to vomit now,” Evelyn protested and he immediately put her down.

“I think breakfast might hasten things up,” She suggested. “What do you think?”

Without saying another word, Kelvin rushed back into the bedroom and came out with the tray they had left on the bed.

Thirty minutes later, Evelyn came out of the bathroom with a blank expression on her face and handed the stick to Kelvin who had been anxiously waiting, pacing around the bedroom.

“Two red lines, do they mean what I think they mean?” He asked as he examined the stipe.

“Umhu,” Evelyn replied and watched her husband lose control.

“We’ve been gone for more than a month now,” Evelyn said to Kelvin as they drove around the Island in their rented car a few hours later. “Isn’t it time to go back now?” She asked.

“I don’t have any motivation whatsoever to go back,” Kelvin answered honestly. “If I could have it my way, we would stay here forever.”

“Do you still think am not safe?” She asked.

“No,” he quickly answered. “It might take a while for my mother to get close to you but I know that she will eventually.” He assured her. “Before this revenge thing, she was a good person, strong willed, but still a good person.”

“I don’t expect you to say otherwise about your mother,” Evelyn said.

Kelvin chuckled. “Not my mother,” he said. “I have been through enough with her to know she is no saint. She has done enough things that could put her behind bars for many years but she’s been too careful in her plotting to attract the attention of law enforcers.”

“And what about you?”

Kelvin gave her a puzzled look. “What about me?” he asked.

Evelyn thought for a moment before opening her mouth. “How far did you go…as in terms of breaking the law to get revenge?”

Kelvin chuckled again. “You are asking if I killed anyone aren’t you?”

Evelyn looked away and gave no response, holding her breath as she waited for his answer

“I didn’t go that far Eva,” he told her. “I never took anyone’s life.”

Evelyn let out a sigh of relief.

“Ah,” Kelvin said upon seeing her release the breath she had been holding. “Did you actually think that I….”

“I don’t know!” Evelyn covered her face with her hands in guilt and shame for having doubted him, even if for a second. “You kidnapped me, stripped me naked and tried to rape me a couple of times. There was so much anger in your eyes I feared you might kill me.”

Kelvin shut his eyes for a few seconds as if to block out the horrible memories that made him feel the kind of shame he had never ever felt before in his life.

“Not my proudest moments,” he said, almost whispering the words. “I promised to make it up to you for the rest of my life and I intend to keep that promise. Do you believe me?” He was looking at her to hear her response.

“I believe you,” Evelyn answered.

Kelvin smiled. “Thank you.” he said and fixed his attention back on the road ahead.

“When did you tell your mother that we would be going back?” Evelyn asked.

“I told her next week,” Kelvin said. “She keeps calling everyday whining about the baby and how you should be under the guidance of an adult since you don’t have parents and what not.”

“Don’t tell me…”

“Yeah, exactly what you are thinking,” Kelvin confirmed her fears. “I told you, her bloodline is her weakness. She was raised at an orphanage for a while and she doesn’t know who her real parents are.

“My mother’s worst fear is dying and leaving no one behind to carry her legacy….like she dies and that’s the end; no one to carry her blood or to stay by her bedside holding her hand as the life slowly slips out of her. Her words,” Kelvin quickly added. “Not mine!”

Evelyn was quite for a while, but later she said, “I think I understand her fears.”

Kelvin turned to look at her, her heavy tone giving him extra concern.

“You know that you don’t ever have to feel like that anymore right?” He asked her.

Evelyn laughed softly. “I know,” she said, unconsciously rubbing her flat stomach.

Kelvin looked at her hands and smiled before turning his attention back on the road.

“We will go back home soon and I will build us a nice home for our family.” He was mostly talking to himself than to her.

Evelyn turned to look at his serious expression as he spoke.

“You will never be alone,” Kelvin said, his eyes still fixed on the road ahead. “I will protect you and my child with my very last breath.”

They drove in silence for a while, taking in the beautiful scenes of nature around them. This was the first time Evelyn had travelled outside Zambia and she ensured that she utilized every moment away from home to live the fairy-tale kind of life Kelvin had shown her in the past month…the kind of life that always seemed surreal even when she was right in the middle of it, experiencing every moment.

The kind of happiness she was experiencing was beyond anything she had ever dreamt for herself and that reality only heightened the fears and insecurities in her; that she might wake up one day and discover that it had all been a dream.

Thus, every night before she fell asleep, she prayed for the dream to last one more day….

And so far, it always did.

“What about Beatrice?” Evelyn later asked Kelvin as they drove to the nearest beach. “I know you don’t like me knowing about what’s going on back home but I overheard your conversation on the phone once when you thought I was sleeping. How is she doing now?”

Kelvin clenched his teeth at the mention of Beatrice’s name and tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

“What is it?” Evelyn could feel her husband tense up and wondered if there was something going on back home that she wasn’t aware of. “Is there something you are not telling me?” She asked.

Kelvin nervously smiled at her. “Of course not,” he said, turning to look at her for a few seconds.

“I just don’t like thinking about the woman, that’s all.” Kelvin said. “I know that despite everything that’s happened, she is still your mother….”

“I have never thought of her as my mother Kelvin,” Evelyn said. “I don’t expect you to feel bad or guilty about your feelings towards her. You are free to hate or loathe her as much as you want.”

Kelvin reached across to her and held her hand. “I am sorry Eva,” was all he could say in response.

* * *

Beatrice kept turning and tossing in bed, much to her daughter Moola’s chagrin who was sleeping next to her in their newly bought two-bedroomed apartment.

Moola sat up in frustration and woke her mother up. “Why did you insist on Mark taking that whole room to himself if you knew you would make it impossible for me to get any sleep?”

Beatrice sighed heavily and sat up as well. “Over my dead body will I let my only son sleep on the sofa in that tiny living room.”

Moola got out of bed and went to turn on the light.

This new bedroom was a far cry from the humongous master bedroom Beatrice had shared with Shadreck at their old mansion which the latter had sold behind her back.

It was only when Beatrice received an envelope with money in it that she learnt her now ex-husband had sold their home and split the money between them in half. She used that money to buy her children another house that was unfortunately twenty ties smaller than the house they were raised in.

She didn’t know whether to thank Shadreck for his consideration in leaving her half the money from the sale of their home or sue him for his betrayal. In the end, she had no choice but to move on since she could do neither as she had no idea where her husband was hiding.

Shadreck had secretly met with his children Moola and Mark the evening before he disappeared and made no efforts whatsoever to contact the woman he had spent the past twenty something years with except through his lawyers that came to hand Beatrice already signed divorce papers.

Moola went back to sit on the bed. “What do you think the people that did this to us are doing right now?” She asked her mother.

Beatrice grimaced and rolled her hands into fists at the thought of the people response for her fall from grace.

“Whatever they are doing, they better pray I don’t get my hands on them. This isn’t over.” She said sternly. “I will make every one of them pay for everything they’ve put us through.”

Moola scoffed. “How are you going to do that?” She asked. “We are broke. Apart from the money dad left Mark and I for school, we have nothing, absolutely nothing. So how do you plan on fighting giants when the only kind if ammunition you had was taken away from you?”

“Who says I need money to make them pay? I only need to touch one person and the rest of them will come crumbling down in pain.”

“What are you planning mum?” Moola asked, instantly growing perturbed. “You are not planning on hurting Kelvin are you?” She asked.

Beatrice threw her daughter a reprobating look. “He used you, dumped you and humiliated you. Why do you still care about him?”

Moola pouted. “I loved him for so many years,” she said. “My feelings can’t change just like that simply because I discovered he never loved me. He might have hated my family, but I still think that there was a part of him that cared about me. Dad even said that Kelvin begged his mother not to do me and Mark any harm.”

Beatrice felt like smacking some sense into her daughter. “Sometimes I wonder if maybe they switched you at the hospital.” She said.

“Maybe you should consider getting your other daughter back,” Moola suggested. “She managed to seduce another woman’s fiancé and even married him…. I say there’s no doubt she, is your daughter.”

Beatrice grabbed a pillow and smacked Moola at the back of her head.

“Ouch,” Moola said as she nursed the assaulted part.

“That’s for spouting nonsense,” Beatrice said and put the pillow back down. “That girl is no daughter of mine.” She added. “She is the worst mistake I ever made in my life. I should have gotten rid of her when I had the chance.”

Moola shivered at the sight of her mother’s deathly glow. “Stop looking like that, you are scaring me.”

Beatrice got out of bed and stood to the side, a new kind of conviction registering in her eyes. “To get rid of a problem, you must remove the root of the problem,” She said.

“What are you plotting to do mum?” Moola asked.

“You just wait and see,” Beatrice said. “You wait and see….”

A cold streak ran down Moola’s spine as she looked up at her mother. This was the first time since their father left that she had seen such conviction in her eyes.

Two Weeks Later

Kelvin parked to the side of the road outside the antenatal clinic when he saw his mother waiting for them by the gate.

“I am so nervous,” Evelyn said, tilting her chair back to avoid being seen by her mother in-law.

Kelvin laughed. “Even if you avoid seeing her now, you are still going to meet her the moment you get out of this vehicle.” He said. “I know it’s crazy that your first meeting is like this but what can we do? She insisted on taking you for your first visit and I am still feeling guilty about how I treated her so I couldn’t say no.”

“I know,” Evelyn said. “You did the right now. Who knows, maybe seeing the baby inside me will soften her up a little.”

Kelvin laughed. “That’s exactly what am hoping for. She’s seen us, she’s waving at me.”

Evelyn raised her seat up and nervously waved back at Mervis. “Ooh she looks pissed.” She said between clenched teeth so the woman wouldn’t be able to read her lips from the distance. “Is that your phone vibrating?” Evelyn searched for her husband’s phone.

“I threw it in the laptop in the back seat,” Kelvin said as he waved back at his mother standing on the other side of the road. He opened the door and came out.

“We are coming mother!” Kelvin shouted.

“I am tired of standing here waiting for you people to show up!” Mervis shouted back. “I thought you were not coming.”

“Go back inside mum,” Kelvin said, but his voice was muffled by the sound of a vehicle passing by. “We will meet you inside.”

“What did you say?” Mervis shouted back.

Kelvin laughed. “She’s not hearing me.” Kelvin said to his wife.

“It’s a call from work honey,” Evelyn said whilst looking at his phone.

“Oh shit!” Kelvin cussed and quickly took the phone from her. “I forgot to tell Nzila that I would be late for today’s meeting. “Go inside, I will meet you guys there. I need to take this.”

Before Evelyn could protest, Kelvin had already answered the phone. Evelyn looked across the street to the entrance of the clinic where Mervis was standing and the hairs at the back of her head stood up.

She slowly got out of the car, grabbed her handbag from the back, checked both sides of the road for oncoming traffic and seeing no vehicle in sight, she slowly started walking towards her fierce mother in-law.

Breathe Eva, breath, she kept telling herself as she crossed the road.

Evelyn was too busy coaching her heart to calm down that she did not notice Beatrice parked on the other side of the road just a short distance away from the entrance of the clinic where Mervis was standing, shielded from sensing Beatrice’s presence by the mango tree looming over the wall fence.

The moment Evelyn stepped her feet onto the tarmac, Beatrice hit the gas and went at her with every cent she had lost.

“Evelyn nooo!”

Evelyn was still mustering her courage when she heard someone shout her name from across the street. She opened her eyes to find Mervis running after her.

The first thing Kelvin heard where tires screeching hard against the tarmac.

It was a deja-vu moment that made his blood turn.

The smell of burning tires and spilled oil…he recognized the smell of doom.

Gripped by a sudden overpowering fear, the phone slipped from Kelvin’s hand and the screen shuttered into pieces the moment it hit the ground.

He turned towards the sound of the vehicle and the then next thing he saw was his mother’s bleeding body rolling out of the road while Evelyn was on the other side, crouched on all fours with a look of horror on her face as realization of what had just happened slowly sunk in.

Kelvin had started running towards his mother when he heard the bang and found himself transposed back into time.

More familiar sounds of metal against metal, tires screeching and glass breaking.

Beatrice’s vehicle had become one with an oncoming truck.

Kelvin remained rooted to the ground, paralyzed by time when the past and the present collided, resulting in a single moment that was suffocating the life out of him.

Just before the darkness could completely envelop him, Kelvin caught a glimpse of Evelyn sobbing as she crawled towards his mother in agony.

“Mum.”

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Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 15

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The confrontation between Kelvin and his mother Mervis went exactly as he had expected it to go; emotionally draining and physically exhausting.

“You don’t look so well mother,” Kelvin as he opened the door to let his mother in.

She already looked out of breath, panting and looking at him like he had just pulled off her life support.

“I haven’t slept a wink from the time you called me.” Mervis said as she sat down on the sofa. “I have been telling myself that it was only a bad dream…that I heard you wrong…that my own son wouldn’t betray me like this.”

“I’m going to bring you a glass of water,” Kelvin said and turned to head into the kitchen.

“Do not patronize me Kelvin!” Mervis shouted from behind him. She was up on her feet. “How could you do this to me!”

Kelvin slowly turned back around to look at her.

“What have you done?” Mervis asked.

“Seat down,” Kelvin said, pointing to the sofa where she had been sitting and then he sat on the other chair facing her.

Mervis did as instructed and waited for her son to talk.

“Before I tell you what I did,” Kelvin started. “I need you to know that I did all this for you, because I love and care about you mother.”

“Have you seen me Kelvin?” Mervis asked. “Do I look like someone who’s just been showered by love? How long have you known about Lucy and why did you pretend you didn’t know?”

“Because I wanted you to feel in control,” Kelvin answered. “I needed you to have all the control in this revenge scheme so I could feel some level comfort knowing that you were doing your best to make the people that took your loved ones away pay for their crimes.”

“Then explain this to me,” Mervis said. “why would you go behind my back and do something like this whe you know very well how much this means to me…to us?”

“Not to us mum, to you.” Kelvin calmly corrected her.

“This isn’t just about me young man!” Mervis yelled. “He was your father and she was your sister.”

“I was never up for taking revenge mother. Even as a young boy I understood very well the reperccusions on undertaking such a journey. I never wanted us to go through all the hurt and pain…constantly reminding ourselves of what we lost instead of letting go and allowing those people to rest in peace.”

Mervis could not believe what she was hearing. “Then why did you beg me to let you help if you knew you were going to do something like this?” She asked.

“Because it was the only way I could think of to make you notice me,” he said as tears welled up in his tears. “Ever since the two died, you forgot I existed. We made us move to a foreign country and you left me all alone for days on end while you drunk your life away and fell into depression.”

“I didn’t leave you alone, there were a lot of people taking care of you.”

“I didn’t need strangers taking care of me, I needed my mother. You kept acting like you were the only one who lost something but I lost something as well my mother. I was only ten years old and I saw my own sister die right in front of me. I watched her die mother!” Kelvin cried.

“And that should have been enough to toughen you up but you kept whining for my attention like the little boy you were. You and your pathetic father watched my daughter die and you did nothing to save her. And yet you expected me to take care of you?”

“I know,” Kelvin said. “I have spend the past twenty years or so blaming myself for what happened that evening but you know what mother, I am done. I refuse to keep holding myself responsible for something I had no control over. I went played that day in my head over and over again and I came to the same conclusion; there was no way either of us would have saved her in that situation.”

“That’s just you trying to make yourself feel less guilty. At least your father took his own life when he realised his mistake but here you are still breathing and crying like a baby.”

Kelvin froze for a moment and was staring at his mother wide-eyed. “Did you just say that father committed suicide?”

Mervis scoffed. “Did you actually believe that story of depression?” She said, smiling at him sarcastically. “For days he tried to find excuses to justify his reasons for not running to your sister’s aid when she was obviously in pain.

“But I made him see just what a coward he was and like the big coward he really was, he swallowed some pills and put an end to his miserable life. I can tell you this, that was the only time in his life he acted like a man.”

Kelvin was standing now, shell-shocked with tears poring down his face as he looked down at his mother gloating like she had just said something that deserved praise.

“I never forced you to join me in this revenge because I knew how spineless you were,” Mervis continued. “When you finally offered to help, I was still skepticle but I thought that since you had my blood running in your veins, perhaps you might rise to the occassion and surprise me. I thought you were doing great all these years but I guess the little boy inside you was just dying.”

“You are right, I was never okay from the get-go.” Kelvin said. “I thought that offering my help would eventually make you see me…make you realise that you still had one child, one member of the family still alive. But no matter how much I tried to please you, to do things your way, the two dead people were always more important than me.

“You never came to my school meetings or other such events. For years I watched with envy other kids who had the privilege of having their parents come watch them at play games and I was always alone like an orphan. You turned me into an orphan even when you are still alive and that hurts even more than losing a parent in death…because when you eventually leave, you would have left me twice.”

Kelvin had raised his two fingers in the air, desperately fighting back the tsunami of tears pouring down.

“You were so obsessed with making money and becoming a billionaire that eventually, I became a pawn on your elaborate chess board. You might not have loudly asked me to take on this revenge with you but your actions forced me to, because that was the only way you were finally able to recognize my presence in your life.”

“How did you expect me to continue living a normal life when the people that had taken away my loved ones where busy living large and acting like nothing ever happened?” Mervis asked.

Kelvin gaped at her in shock. “It is not people mother,” he said to her. “It is only one woman, Beatrice. You don’t need to drag all these innocent people into the picture and punish them for something they have no idea even happened.”

And then a look of realization finally dawned on Mervis’ face. “You have fallen for that girl haven’t you? That’s why you are acting like this.”

Kelvin’s heart dropped. Did she already know about Evelyn?

Mervis was quick to pick on the fear written all over Kelvin’s face.

“I am right,” she said. “You allowed yourself to fall for that Moola girl and that’s why you’ve betrayed me like this.”

Kelvin’s heart went back in place at the mention of Moola’s name, relieved that Evelyn had still not crossed his mother’s radar. It would be nice if things remained that way, Kelvin thought.

“You can think whatever you want mother but I will not let you harm those innocent kids just so you can get your revenge,” Kelvin said.

“Do you actually think that you can pull off something like this against me?” Mervis asked.”You have always been a mama’s boy and you will never be able to break off this ambilical code unless I do it for you.”

“Maybe you are right,” Kelvin said. “I never intended to forsake you when I contacted Lucy. I only did that because I want to put an end to this. You are getting old now yet you’ve never allowed yourself to breathe a moment of peace because you’ve been consumed by revenge.

“You breathe, eat and shit revenge day in and day out. How long do you intend to drag this along? Aren’t you tired? I know I am tired but I can’t walk away and leave you behind to be eaten alive alone. I want us to put an end to this, right now mother.”

“And you think that hiding those kids will change anything?” Mervis asked smugly.

“I hid those kids because I know you. As long as you have access to those kids, you were going to drag this far until you raised them to be pawns in your schemes. This revenge has no way of ending as long as those kids are under your control. Just like you’ve done over the years, you’ll find new ways of inflicting pain on that family.

“At first it was business deals, you managed to take away business from those people over and over again but that still wasn’t enough. You became bored because you had become so good at it you needed something even more challenging. It was no longer revenge for you, at some point it became a hobby, a game you were addicted to and you kept chasing a rise on a level higher than the one before.

“I thought that getting me to marry someone I never loved was as low as you could get but I soon realised that you had much bigger plans in store. That’s how I learnt about Lucy. So I know mother, as long as Beatrice is still breathing, this revenge will never end. The only thing I can do is cut off the roots that are helping you grow, and that includes me, Lucy, those two innocent kids and everyone else I know is helping you run this scheme. I will keep doing that even if it means I die by your hands…something I know you would gladly do.”

“Kelvin!” Mervis snapped. “You might not approve of my ways of doing things but don’t insult me like that. I would have to kill me first before I can kill my own flesh and blood. You might have greatly disappointed me right now but that doesn’t change the fact that you are my son, so watch what you accuse me of.”

“Then tell me mother,” Kelvin walked over to where his mother was and knelt down before her. “What do I need to do to make you stop?” He asked with tears streaming down his face. “Tell me what you want and I will everything within my power to help you but please…let’s put an end to all this hate. I beg of you.”

“Bring those kids to me and I will I just might reconsider removing that fiancé of yours from my top two enemy list. Anyone capable of turning a son against his own mother deserves to be stoned to death. I might not lay my hands on you son,” She said whilst wiping the tears off his face with her bare hands. “I might not kill you but that doesn’t mean I can’t get to those you care about.”

Kelvin was left kneeling on the floor feeling hopeless and defeated as Mervis got up and started walking towards the door.

Once at the door, she stopped and turned to address her son for the last time. “You have forty-eight hours to present those kids in front of me…or watch what I do to the woman you love to see if that’s motivation enough.” And she was gone.

If Kelvin had doubted it before, he was now convinced beyond reasonable doubt that twenty years ago he had lost more than just a father and sister, he had lost his whole family…and that that woman parading as his mother was nothing but a shell of someone he used to know…someone he could no longer recognize.

Feeling like a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, there was only one place Kelvin could think of going to lay down his heavy load.

* * *

With her best friend out of town again, Evelyn found herself dreading the long night ahead alone in the house. Ever since she could remember, she never liked sleeping alone.

Having always lived in tiny apartments, Evelyn had become accustomed to sharing a bed with her grandmother. It was only when she moved in with Thando who was constantly on the move that she was forced to adjust to sleeping alone in bed.

Unfortunately for Thando, it meant that on days she was at home, she had to contend with Evelyn waking up from her bed in the middle of the night to join her in hers.

Once she was sure all doors and windows where closed, Evelyn got into her pyjama shorts and t-shirt and was about to get into bed when she heard a knock on the door.

“Who could it be this time?” She wondered out loud, waiting for a few more seconds to check if the person would knock again…and again.

They did, persistently.

Evelyn pulled out a chitenge wrapper from her washing basket in the corner of her room and wrapped it around herself before going to answer the door.

“Who is it?” She asked before opening the door.

“It’s me Eva,” came a male’s voice.

She didn’t need to ask who again to know who it was. That voice haunted her even in her sleep. She quickly unlocked the door.

“Kelvin?” Evelyn gasped when she saw the state he was in; drenched in sweat, feet and slippers drowning in dust, and looking like a man on the verge of collapse.

“Water,” Kelvin said, sounding out of breathe as he pushed passed her and fell to the floor the moment he was safely inside.

“Close the door,” he said to a visibly shocked Evelyn who was still holding the door wide open and gaping at him like she had just seen a mad man for the first time in her life.

But she still closed the door the moment she heard his request.

“Is someone chasing you?” Evelyn asked. “Where’s your car…or cars?”

“Water,” Kelvin begged again.

“Oh yeah,” Evelyn said and quickly ran to the kitchen, appearing seconds later with a glass in hand. She handed to him and watched him ferociously gulp down the contents.

“It’s at home,” Kelvin answered the moment he was done quenching his thirst.

“Is your friend around?” he asked her.

“No, she travelled for work. She will be back next week.” She answered.

Slowly getting up from the floor, he said, “show me where the bathroom is and give me your towel.”

“Huh?”

“Is it this side?” He was pointing and moving in that direction.

Evelyn rushed in time to stop him by the door. “This is the kitchen,” she said, blocking his way in. “You just saw me enter and come out with a glass of water. Did you think I gave you water from the bathroom?”

“It’s been known to happen,” Kelvin said, his play at nonchalance gnawing at Evelyn more than the pain in his eyes.

“Here,” she was saying as she led him to through the door on the left. She had a billion question running through her mind but she knew better than to press a man that looked like he had just lost the battle between angels and demons.

“You will find my towel hanging somewhere in there,” she said and closed the door behind him.

She was expecting him to have a quick retort for her but instead he simply said, “thank you Eva, and turned on the shower.

Evelyn remained standing outside the door, something she could not understand kept holding her back from moving away…and then she heard Kelvin stifle his sobs against the running water.

Her heart sunk and her eyes followed in kind.

What had happened? Evelyn wondered as she silently walked towards her bedroom to prepare some dry clothes for him.

It took about twenty minutes for Kelvin to come out of the shower, looking like a brand new man with the forced smile on his face as he stood outstand Evelyn’s bedroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist , waiting for her to welcome him inside.

Evelyn blinked and blushed profusely at the sight of his exposed buff chest, stuck between starring in awe and looking away in embarrassment and ending up doing both simultaneously.

Kelvin was smirking at her expense.

“Wait here, I will bring some clothes for you,” Evelyn gushed and quickly turned to walk back inside but Kelvin was right behind her.

“It’s looks particularly clean,” he commented as he looked around her room.

“I didn’t say you could come in,” Evelyn was looking at him despondently, at a loss for what to do to or about him.

“I always suspected there was something peculiar about you, turns out you are a neat freak,” he looking at her severely arranged room with each time exactly where it was supposed to be.

“You know OCD is an actual disease ka.” he asked.

Evelyn was laughing. “It’s not a disease, it’s a disorder. And look who’s talking? Have you seen your house?”

“That’s exactly why I made an accurate diagnosis,” he was smugly shrugging his shoulders. “I was speaking from experience.”

Evelyn picked up the clothes she had laid for him on the bed and handed them over to him.

“I think the show is over now. The audience is pleased so you can dress up,” she told him.

Kelvin was smiling innocently. “I have no idea what you are talking about.” And he put on the white t-shirt she had given him.

“Are you sure you weren’t expecting me over tonight?” He asked. “This t-shirt is too much of a perfect fit to be a coincidence.”

Evelyn was aware that all the happy conversation was a façade he was putting on to avoid talking about the real reason why he had shown up at her doorstep but she still played along just fine.

Once he was done dressing up, he threw himself on the bed, back first as he sprawled his legs.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Evelyn asked.

“You are not planning on sending me to Thando’s room right?” Kelvin asked nonchalantly.

“What do you mean send you to Thando’s room? Are you planning on sleeping here?”

“Yes,” he answered simply.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I want to spend the night with you.”

“With whose permission?”

“Mine of course.”

“That’s not how it works Kelvin.”

He then sat up, a serious expression suddenly appearing on his face as he looked at her. “Let me sleep here tonight,” he said pleadingly. “I promise I won’t try anything funny. If you want, I can even sleep on the couch in the living room, I don’t mind. Just don’t kick me out, please.”

“What’s going on Kelvin?” Evelyn finally asked.

“I had a fight with my mum, that’s all I can tell you for now.” He said.

“Is that why you came here looking like someone was chasing you?”

Kelvin fell back on the bed, using his arms as a second pillow. “I needed to make sure that no one followed me here so I circled around for a while before finally knocking at your door.

“Who could have been following you this late at night?” Evelyn asked.

“I’m tired Eva,” Kelvin complained. “Can’t we just forget about it…for today?”

Evelyn went to sit on the bed, looking over at his sleeping figure. “Wake up Kelvin,” she told him, and tried to make him sit up by pulling his hand.

A very reluctant Kelvin eventually sat up and moved to sit next to her, both their feet hanging by the bed.

“I can feel a nagging sermon approaching,” he said sarcastically.

“I have never had a man sleep on my mind before and if I am to allow you to do that, I think I deserve to hear an explanation as to why I should extend that charity.”

“Wow, I am now a charity case!” and he let out a heart breaking laugh, hanging his head low over his chest.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Evelyn quickly tried to explain herself. “In any case, you are here and you obviously need my help…” she hesitated for some time before adding, “I don’t think I will be able to sleep knowing that something is obviously wrong with you.”

Kelvin raised his head up and slowly turned to look at her, a huge grin playing on his face. “You have totally fallen for me haven’t you?”

Evelyn scoffed and made a face at him. “Can you try to be serious for just a moment? Stop trying to change the topic…and no, I haven’t fallen for you. I am just being a concerned neighbour.”

The disappointment of Kelvin’s face was too vivid to ignore. Evelyn quickly looked away from him.

“I had a huge fight with my mum…it didn’t end so well.” He finally told her.

“Did she find out about me?!” The kind of fear that Kelvin saw in her eyes made him realise yet again just how much of a stranger his mother had become. Since when did the mere mention of her name bring such fear in people’s lives.

Is she really my mother? Kelvin wondered.

And if she is not, then who is that woman I have called mother for all these years…and what did she do to my sweet kind-hearted mother?

“No she didn’t, relax.” He said and he could hear her breath a huge sigh of relief.

“Then what happened?” Evelyn asked. “What was so mad that you came here looking the way you did? Did she disown you or something?”

Kelvin looked straight into her eyes and with tears welled up in his eyes he asked her, “You really think the worst of my mother, right?”

Evelyn didn’t know what to say in response. The pained look in his eyes was enough to freeze all her mental faculties.

Just what had happened to have broken this ever brazen and bold man to this extent? Evelyn wondered.

“Kelvin….” Evelyn was still at a loss for words.

“She really is a horrible person isn’t it?” Kelvin asked.

Evelyn was now wondering whether Kelvin was really looking for answers or if he was in desperate need of someone to tell him a lie…anything different from the truth he already knew.

In the end, she could only stare at him blankly.

She had heard about how the little boy at the orphanage that had been mistaken for her had been ruthlessly killed. The things surrounding his death all pointed to one person and anyone capable of doing something like that to an innocent child was someone to be hated and feared.

But how could she look Kelvin in his deep brown eyes and tell him that his mother was a monster?

He was already a man on the verge of destruction. Ant slight push and he would come crumbling down. He had set aside his pride and ego walked all the way to her place and here he was desperately trying to push away his tears because he still needed to be a man in front of her.

Seeing the desperation in his eyes, Evelyn did the only thing she could think of that would help him keep his pride. She got onto the bed, positioned herself behind him and before he could ask any question, she wrapped her arms around him from behind, her chin resting on top of his head.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to cry in my presence, could you at least let it all out when I am not looking at you? Evelyn thought as she fought back her own tears, pressing her upper body tight against him.

As if answering her question, Kelvin finally broke down…and even though Evelyn could not hear him, she could feel his body convulsing against her as he tightly gripped with both hands the part of her arm resting just below his face.

When Kelvin finally told her everything that had transpired between him and his mother, Evelyn could finally understand why he looked like a man whose wings had just been clipped off.

“So are you going to hand over the kids to her?” Evelyn asked him later while they sat in bed watching tv, each on his or her own pillow.

Between them was an aisle of much three pillow separating them; the Isle of Virtue, as Evelyn had coolly coined it.

“No way!” Kelvin said determinedly.

“Do you actually think that she would harm them in any way?” Evelyn asked. “It’s not like they are Beatrice’s children.”

Kelvin laughed. “You don’t know my mother,” he said. “There’s nothing in this world she can’t do. Those might not be Beatrice’s children but they are children of the man Beatrice is in-love with and that, that on its own is a sin against my mother on Shadreck’s part.”

“Now you are really scaring me Kelvin,” Evelyn said.

“It also pains me to know that I am capable of saying such awful things about my own mother. I keep wishing that this whole revenge thing is just a bad dream, that I will wake up one day and it would have all been just a nightmare.”

“She is going to hurt Moola if you don’t give her the kids…you are aware of that? Evelyn asked.

“Of course, how can I not?” he said, almost whispering the words. “I might not love her but I wouldn’t live with myself if something happened to her because of me. I have already hurt her enough all these years…dragging her along and making her think that I was in-love with her.”

“Are you still going to marry her?” Evelyn asked, shutting her eyes tight as she waited for him to respond.

Kelvin could feel her tense on the other side of the bed and so he moved his head over the pillow to peep at her.

Kelvin laughed upon finding her in that position. “You really don’t want me to marry her.” He said to her.

Evelyn opened her eyes only to find Kelvin’s head looking down on her. Feeling embarrassed at having been found out, she pushed him back to his side and put the pillow back where it had been.

“When did you realize you were in-love with me?” Kelvin asked, his serious tone catching her by surprise.

“If you want to talk about feelings then I suggest you grab a few blankets from there,” she was pointing to the wardrobe on the side of the wall where he was.

“You should know by now that I keep my promises no matter,” Kelvin said. “I said I wouldn’t try anything with you tonight and I meant it.”

“I know,” Evelyn said, remembering that day in his bedroom when Moola came knocking at the window and she begged Kelvin to hide her in the basement where he had previously held her captive.

“Aren’t you going t answer my question?” Kelvin said.

“Does it matter?” Evelyn tried to brush him off.

“Yes it does,” he said. “Maybe that’s the kind of motivation I need to get through this.”

“This evening,” Evelyn said.

“What about this evening?” Kelvin asked.

“I realised I am in-love with you when I found you standing by the door outside.” She said.

There was no response from Kelvin and the room was filled with silence for about a minute or so.

“Kelvin?” Evelyn called and leaned over the pillow to look at him.

The stern expression on his face scared her to death.

“Did I say something wrong?” she asked him.

“I am not going to marry Moola,” he announced.

“Is that why you look like that after what I just told you?” Evelyn sounded disappointed. She had expected him to be jumping up and down.

“Knowing that you love me too means that I now have no choice but to break my mother’s heart,” he said.

Evelyn finally understood and slowly dropped back to her sleeping position but Kelvin’s head popped up above her immediately. This time he was wearing the smile she had been longing to see a few seconds ago.

“I love you Eva, daughter of Beatrice.” He said.

“You really don’t know how to be romantic, eish!” But she was smiling and hiding his face with her hands so that he would not see her blushing cheeks.

Kelvin slowly removed her hands from his face and planted a kiss on her forehead before returning to his side of the bed.

“From now on,” Kelvin said after a while. “I am going to love my mother the best way I can.”

“And how are you going to do that?” Evelyn had asked him.

“I will break her heart first, and then give her a brand new one.”

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 14

image

Guilt.

That was the feeling gnawing at Evelyn when she laid her eyes upon Lebo’s smiling and welcoming face and a flash of that steamy evening with Kelvin ran through her mind.

“Lebo.” She said in a very low voice, not sure what else to say to him.

In response, Lebo got up from the sofa and went to hug her.  “You look like you could use a hug,” he said whilst holding her. “Tough day at work?”

Evelyn dropped her arms and slowly pulled back from his embrace before responding.

“It was a crazy day today,” she said, avoiding meeting his gaze, something that Thando easily picked on.

“I’m gonna go out for a walk,” Thando announced. “See you again soon Lebo., and have a good night.”

“Thanks Thando, you too, have a good night.”

Evelyn threw her bag down on the sofa and then herself.

“You don’t look so good,” Lebo said, taking up a seat opposite her. “Is everything okay Eva?”

“Yes Kelvin, I am okay…I guess am just tired.” She said.

“Kelvin?” Lebo asked his tightening hard as he starred at Evelyn in disbelief.

Evelyn threw him a questioning look. “Why did you bring up that name?”

“I didn’t, you did.” Lebo said.

“I did? When?” She asked, absolutely unaware of her blunder.

“You just called me Kelvin Eva.” He stated.

Evelyn gaped at him and covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh no,” she said. “I am so sorry Lebo…I don’t know what to say.”

“How about you honestly tell me what’s really going on?” Lebo said. “Your reaction when you saw me sitting here spoke volumes and it took everything in me to not think much of it…but then…you said his name.”

“Lebo….” Evelyn searched for the right words to say to make it up to him.

“Are you in-love with him?” He asked.

“I just happened to have a long day at work and he was the last person I spoke to,” Evelyn lied. “I made a mistake, I admit, but that’s about it.”
“But you still haven’t answered my question,” he said.

Evelyn sighed heavily. “I don’t understand why you would ask me such a question when you know that he has a fiancé. They will be getting married in less than two weeks.”

Lebogang was watching her closely and listening intently. “You are still avoiding my question Eva. Are you in-love with him? Just be honest with me, I beg of you. I think it would be better for me to know exactly what am dealing with from the get-go because…because I think I have fallen for you. So tell me, do I have a chance with you or should I just give up?”

Evelyn sighed heavily again, drowning her face into her hand.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know what my feelings are,” she finally managed to say. “I have been so busy and occupied by much heavier issues to allow myself to feel anything or let alone think about dating.”

“So it’s safe to say that you have some feelings for Kelvin….” Lebo noted.

“I already told you,” Evelyn started to say.

“I am not dumb Eva, I can see it in your eyes. I am just begging you to be honest with me because if you keep doing this, you are giving me hope…that I have a chance because you haven’t out rightly told me that you are already in-love with someone else. Do I have a chance with you?”

Evelyn slowly raised her head to take a good look at him. By all physical standards of beauty he was just as good looking as Kelvin except…except for the eyes…he didn’t have Kelvin’s deep brown eyes.

And why am I making such comparisons? Evelyn silently rebuked herself.

Then she consciously looked back at Lebo with a fresh mind. The desperation visibly evident in his eyes while he sat there anxiously waiting to hear her response sent a chill down her spine.

She wanted to reach out and lay her hand on his, or better yet, to hold him in her arms. She remembered the warmth of his embrace from that night at the hotel…how he had comforted her and made her feel like she was safest only in his arms.

That had been the first time in her life when she had felt most safe and needed. Lebo had made her feel like that.

But at what point did her feelings get so muddled in such a web of extreme complexity? Just what was she feeling in her heart and how was she to know which feelings constituted love when she had never experienced anything of that magnitude before?

“I like you,” Evelyn said. “I really like you and that’s why am going to be honest with you.”

“Please,” Lebo said.

“I have these feelings…in my heart…I don’t know when they started and I don’t know how to stop them. I don’t even know what they mean…. All I know is that they make me both happy and scared at the same time. That night at the charity event, you made me happier than I had ever been; happy and safe. For some reason, I wanted more…I found myself longing for more.”

“Then what’s the problem Eva?” Lebo asked.

“My feelings,” she said. “My feelings confuse me, I don’t understand them,” Evelyn lamented. “Recently, things became way too complicated in my life. My mother, her past, our present…they all just collided and I was left sprawled on the ground, alone. Right in the middle of it all was Kelvin.

“He both hates and loves me…at least that’s what he’s told me and that’s what I’ve seen. The problem is that he has every right to hate me because of who I am and unfortunately, I am not allowed to divulge those reasons to anyone else no matter.”

“Says who?” Lebo asked.

“There are just certain issues surrounding my birth that are not easy for me or anyone else involved to talk about. You see, I was born from a union of sin…and union that brought a lot of hurt to some families and my birth was sealed the fate for some of those people, in the cruellest way possible.”

“I don’t understand,” Lebo interrupted her. “How does Kelvin come in all of this?”

“I wish I could tell you exactly what you want to know…but I can’t. I am sorry Lebo.”

“Me too Eva,” Lebo said resignedly. “How about you just tell me what I need to know?”

“Kelvin’s initial intentions where to hurt me,” Evelyn revealed. “Naturally, I hated him. But during those gruesome moments we spent together, something changed. Somehow, the hate turned to something else. At first I was very determined to just walk away, to ignore him and forget he ever existed but….”

“But you also fell for him.” Lebo finished for her.

“I don’t know if what I feel for him is love or something else. I don’t know what it means or feels like to be in-love and it’s something I am not willing or anxious to discover…at least not right now.

“All I am sure of is that everything between him and I changed the moment he told me that he loved me. He might have done certain things to hurt me in the past but I have seen that he is not such a bad person.

“He is simply a man that needs love and attention from those he cares about and when he made his feelings known to me, there was a huge part of me that wanted to believe him…to believe that he was not the monster he had made me believe he was before.”

“I think you already know what you feel for him Eva,” Lebo said. “You just don’t want to admit it to yourself…or you are just too scared to confront your feelings. But here’s what I don’t understand, why is Kelvin confessing his feelings for you when he is engaged to someone else? Does he plan on leaving her just two weeks before their wedding?”

“I don’t know Lebo,” Evelyn replied. “I don’t know what Kelvin is thinking or planning and I don’t wish to find out. If there’s one thing I am sure of, it is that him and I will never be…unless I am willing and ready to lose my life.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Lebo asked.

“Just something like that.” She answered.

“Oh yeah, another thing you can’t talk to me about,” he said sarcastically.

Evelyn could only look at him apologetically.

“The good news is,” Lebo said, standing up and walking to kneel on the floor before her. “I think I have heard enough to help me make a decision. Unlike Kelvin who has a lot of issues going on with him, I stand a better chance of winning your heart.

“I understand that the two of you might have grown fond of each other during the times you spent together, but I intend to start spending more time with you from now on…as long as you allow me.

“However,” Lebo continued. “If you tell me that you are willing to be with Kelvin despite the fact that he is with someone else or that you might die…your words, not mine, then all you need to do is tell me and I will never bother you again.”

“That’s the thing Lebo,” Evelyn said, looking into his eyes. “It’s not just Kelvin I am hesitant about. It’s also you or any other man out there that might be interested in me. I am very flattered that a good looking and gentleman like you is showing interest in me but, there are just so many things going on in my life that make me feel less confident about being in a serious and meaningful relationship.

“I am afraid of giving someone my heart and allowing myself to feel all those things only to be left alone when my past comes to light. I don’t think I can live with any more rejection in my life Lebo.” There were tears welled up in her eyes.

Lebogang moved closer to her and took her hands into his. “I would never do such a thing to you Eva, never, I promise you. Just give me a chance to prove it to you, please.”

“You are not even from here Lebo,” Evelyn stood up and went to stand by the window, her back to him as she looked out the window to their small front yard.

Lebo got up from the floor and went to stand behind her, his hands in his pockets.

“I don’t even know how long you plan on being in this country. You have your whole life in Botswana and I don’t expect you to just abandon everything and live here.

“I don’t even know what kind of life you live over there. We both know nothing about each other so we are not in any position to make promises to each other.What will happen to me when one day you wake up and feel like going back home because you can’t handle everything that’s going on?

“I am not going to lie to you, my life is a total mess and anyone that’s close to me is bound to feel the heat at some point. You might be willing to go through all that with me but I will not allow anyone I care about to suffer because of my weaknesses. I just can’t.”

“All I can hear is that you care about me.” Lebo was smiling behind her.

“I am serious Lebo,” She turned around to face him, an expression on her face that matched her words.

“I know,” Lebo quickly sobered up, pulling her closer to him and then turning her so that her back was now against him as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Bu I am not going back to Botswana just yet.” He told her. “Winning your heart has suddenly become way too important for me than anything else out there.”

“What about your job? And your family?” Evelyn asked.

“I run my own company so I can stay away as long as I deem fit.” He said. “Besides, in this modern age of technology, you can still run a business even from space. I don’t want to go back without you.”

Evelyn immediately tried to turn around to look at him but he forced her to stay in place with his arms.

“You want me to live with you in Botswana?” She asked in shock. “Who told you that I want to leave my peaceful country to live in a foreign land Lebo?”

“Zambia isn’t that peaceful anymore Eva,” Lebo remarked. “You guys are slowly becoming a mix of Rwanda, South Africa and Nigeria.”

“If that’s your way of winning my heart then you need a new strategy,” she tried to get away from him again but he still managed to keep her in position.

Laughing, he hugged her even tighter. “I am kidding me,” he said, planting a kiss on top of her head. “But on a serious note, don’t you think that getting away from this country would be the best way to avoid some of the problems you are facing right now or in future?”

Evelyn thought about his statement for a while.

“I did a bit of research on your mother’s family, very rich folks,” he was saying. “With the kind of reputation they’ve managed to establish for themselves over the years, I doubt they would want it known to the public that the mighty philanthropist Beatrice Mwangala had a daughter out of wedlock.

“I can only speculate about how you came to be born and if what you’ve hinted at is anything to go by, I would understand why that family would feel the need to continue keeping your presence a secret. The more you keep bumping into them like you did at that charity, the more desperate they will get in trying to keep you hidden, forever.”

Evelyn sighed heavily upon hearing things from another’s point of view. Lebo didn’t even know the half of it and yet he was able to calculate the kind of danger she might be in if her presence was discovered.

And even though she had little to worry about from the public…since that was more of a concern for her mother’s side, it was Kelvin’s side learning about her that roused such great fear in her.

She had witnessed for herself the kind of control Mervis had on her own son and she had an idea of what she was planning to do to Beatrice’s family to avenge her daughter’s death.

Evelyn could only imagine the kind of vermin Mervis would unleash on the direct offspring of the affair that reaped her family apart. It was only a matter of time before she learnt of her existence and Kelvin’s feelings and erratic behaviour only brought that eventuality even more possible than ever.

“Wouldn’t it hurt your feelings knowing that the only reason I would be following you to Botswana would be only because I need an escape? That is the same as using you for my own gain… and I don’t like how that makes me look or feel.” Evelyn asked the man who still had his arms wrapped around her waist.

“I wouldn’t think of it as you using me,” he said confidently. “I would think of it as you trusting me to take care of you.”

“A very optimistic way of looking at things,” Evelyn was smiling as she mulled over his words and weighed her options in her head.

“That’s because I am such an optimistic guy.” Lebo returned.

“I used to think that I was optimistic too, but recent events have turned me into a person I can hardly recognize. One moment I might be smiling, feeling happy, next moment I would be feeling a sense of great shame, embarrassment, fear, stuck at a crossroad…and crying…a lot of crying. That’s the kind of person I have become.”

“Life can do that to you sometimes,” Lebo said. “You could choose to let your circumstances define you or you could rise above them, show them who’s in charge and live your life according to the direction you wish it to go. Eventually, everything will fall back in place.”

“Wise and good looking,” Evelyn commented under her breath. And then loudly she added, “I didn’t know that was possible.”

“Me neither.” He said and they both laughed.

* * *

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Mervis looked like a wounded buffalo ready to pounce on any unsuspecting victim that was unfortunate enough to set themselves in her path when she pounded hard on Lucy’s new address where they had arranged to meet that morning.

She had tried relentlessly for the past twenty-four hours to get in touch with Lucy but the woman’s phone was still off. There could only be one explanation as to why things had turned out this way.

“What the hell where you doing while she was running away with two children Rafael?” Mervis verbally pounced on the man she had left I charge of Lucy.

“I am very sorry ma’am,” Rafael could hardly look at her when answering.

Without warning, Mervis walked over to where he was standing and slapped him hard across the face. The thirty-one year old man staggered backwards as he tried to nurse his bruised cheek with his hand.

“Do you think saying sorry will make her appear before me?” Mervis yelled. “Why have I been paying you when you can’t even do such a simple job?”

Rafael remained quiet, his feeling of remorse quickly replaced by shame.

“You better find Lucy or be ready to say goodbye to your family today.”

In what appeared to be well-times miracle, there was a disturbance at the gate and then Lucy appeared.

“You!” Mervis approached her while she was still at the gate looking both timid and determined in whatever resolve she had reached on her way to meeting her boss.

Mervis grabbed her by the ear and pulled her aside. “Open that door so we can talk properly inside. I have more than a lot to say and I don’t need an audience for that.”

Lucy quickly ran and opened the door, she then stepped back and allowed Mervis to go in first.

“What is this?” Was the first question Mervis asked when her eyes landed on the room empty room she was now standing in. “Where is all your stuff?” She turned around to look at Lucy who had also entered behind her.

“Wait,” it suddenly appeared to Mervis that something bigger than the empty house was missing. “Where are the kids Lucy?” She asked.

“They are gone,” Lucy answered.

“What do you mean they are gone?” Mervis asked.

“I took them far away to a place you can never find them.” She said.

Mervis laughed, thinking someone was playing a very bad joke on her. “This is not the time to joke with me Lucy. I have no time for this kind of nonsense. Tell me right now, where have you taken the kids?”

“They are my kids!” Lucy snapped and cried at the same time. “I already told you, they are mine. I gave birth to them. I won’t allow you to take them away from me.”

“Come here,” Mervis tried to grab her by the head but Lucy moved to the side defiantly.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve just done to yourself and to those kids?” Mervis roared.

“I don’t care what you do to me but at least I know my children will be safe as long as they are far away from you.” Lucy said with such conviction in her voice that caught Mervis by surprise.

“Who got to you?” Mervis asked. “Did you confess to Shadreck and he made you a better offer than mine?”

“No one got to me,” Lucy said. “And Mr Shadreck doesn’t know anything about you or our arrangement. I am willing to let you use me to break up that home but I don’t want you dragging my children into this. If my children do not die by your hands, they will die in that woman’s hands.”

“If I thought that Shadreck telling his wife that he was leaving simply because he fell in-love with another woman was enough, then I wouldn’t have gone this far with you!” Mervis shouted.

“I could have picked a much younger and very sophisticated woman to sway his heart but I needed one that had the potential to be both wife-like and a mother. You had so many years to make him leave his evil wife and you still couldn’t make him stay with you. How pathetic of you to stand there and act like you run the show.”

Mervis was feeling like she was losing her mind.

She had not calculated for such a development because she never thought Lucy had the balls to stand up to her and betray her like this. The question she needed answered the most was; who was behind all this?

Was it just a matter of courage borne from blind love or could it be that Shadreck had caught on to something and was now using her to get to her?

The worst possibility running through Mervis’ mind was; had Beatrice discovered who Lucy was and managed to get to her?

“I love him!” Lucy announced in a very shaky voice.

“I knew it!” Mervis said and scoffed. “And do you think that he loves you back?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. I just didn’t want to win his heart using the tricks you taught me. I wanted him to come to me by his own will. The only reason why I have not told him the truth is because I still feel some level of loyalty towards you and I am willing to let you continue using me because I want this thing to end as soon as possible. I am tired.” Lucy lamented.

“I should have known that picking a desperate whore from off the streets was a bad idea.” Mervis was saying.

“You can insult me all you want but I am never telling you where my children are. They are only babies. They have no idea what’s going and I would like to keep it that way. You can punish me all you want, you can even kill me, I don’t care. I deserve everything because I am the one who signed such an evil pact.

“I just want this thing to end. Yes, I admit, I am no good. I failed to make him leave his wife despite having two of his children and I can promise you that no matter how many years you wait, he will never leave his wife, at least not for me. You can use me in whatever manner you like but please, leave my kids out of this.”

Mervis was glaring at her like she was the worst human species she had ever come across. “Your kids?” she scoffed. “Do you even know how much those kids are worth? Millions!” Mervis said, thinking about the twenty percent still untouched from the Mwangala’s fortune.

More than the eight percent she had already managed to get her hands on, it was the twenty percent that meant everything to her simply because it was exclusively owned by Beatrice.

With enough persuasion, Shadreck would have convinced his wife to surrender her money if it meant getting back the children Mervis had intended to hold hostage.

But now Lucy had thrown her this curveball.

“I am very sorry that it came to this but….” Lucy was saying from the corner of the room where she was cowering.

“But you are going to make things right Lucy,” Mervis’ smile was threatening enough to freeze a waterfall. “You created this mess so naturally, you will fix it. You said it yourself, you owe me. If you think that death is the only way to punish you, then you must not know me by now.

“I never make things easy for my enemies…especially those that have declared war to my face. Killing you would be letting you off too easily.” Mervis’ tone was calm and controlled and yet as menacing in its delivery as possible.

“I am going to make things so painful for you that you will be begging me to hear the location of where you’re hiding those little bastards. Rafael!” She shouted for her Lucy’s handler who was outstanding outside.

Eager to redeem himself, Rafael rushed into the room and stood at attention before his madam.

“Put her in the vehicle,” Mervis instructed him. “There’s a special place she needs to go that might help her refresh her mind a little bit.” She was looking menacingly at Lucy with a smirk on her face that spoke of every possible evil she had in store for her.

Lucy was wailing and kicking as Rafael dragged her to the car parked in front of the house.

Later that evening, Kelvin received a call from Rafael.

“Things are not looking that good over here Mr Kelvin,” Rafael reported.

“What happened?” Kelvin asked as he punched in the password to his newly installed home security system. The door opened and he entered the house.

He walked over to the fridge, took a bottle of water from there and walked with it to his guest lounge where he threw himself onto the sofa.

“Your mother is losing it!” Rafael was saying. “She is keeping Madam Lucy in some room somewhere and two men spent the whole day torturing her. This is not what you promised us Sir. You said that you would keep us safe.” The poor man was on the verge of crying.

“Calm down Rafael,” Kelvin said. “Tell me everything that happened first.”

And then Rafael walked him through the events of that day, step by step.

“But you didn’t expect my mother to take all this laying down Rafael, did you?” Kelvin said.

“Of course not Sir but….”

“I spoke to Lucy about my mother retaliating…but, I never imagined she would take things this far.”

“I also never imagined such things happening in real life but your mother is something else Mr Kelvin. You really need to do something soon or Madam Lucy will die in there.”

“I know,” Kelvin said. “I know. I will get to it right away. And please ask Lucy to hang in there. I will do everything I can to ensure that no more harm is done to her, okay?”

“Yes sir, we are counting on you.” Rafael said.

Immediately that call was done, Kelvin speed dialled his mother and waited for her to answer the call.

“My son,” came Mervis’ usual greeting to him.

“Hi mum,” Kelvin said, his voice heavy with emotion.

Kelvin was about to cross a point in his life he had never dreamt of ever crossing and only God knew just where his feet would land.

“Where are you?” Kelvin asked.

Mervis chuckled before responding. “Why are you asking where I am? I thought I told you that I was in SA doing some shopping. Are you asking where I am right now? I am at a friend’s house in KZN. Is anything the matter? Why do you sound so serious?”

“I know where you are mum, please don’t lie to me. This has to stop, right now.” Kelvin said sternly.

“What’s going on son? You are starting to scare me now. What are you talking about?” Mervis asked, a strange feeling nagging at her heart as she waited to hear her son’s response.

“I know that you are in Tanzania,” Kelvin said, standing up to face the wall, his hand placed over his forehead as he bent his head down and sighed heavily.

He raised his head again. “I have always known where you go whenever you leave home. Come back home now, I have what you are looking for.” He announced.

Mervis jumped from the hotel bed she had been lying on. “What do you mean you have what I’m looking for Kelvin?” she could hardly hear her own thoughts over her loudly beating heart.

“The kids,” Kelvin said after a moment’s hesitation. “I have Lucy’s kids.”

Mervis’ knees immediately gave way and she found herself kneeling on the carpeted floor of her hotel room.

“Mother, are you alright?” Kelvin asked, the silence on the other side of the line creeping him out.

“No…not you Kelvin…not you my son….”

His mother’s words ripped through his veins and he felt every bit and piece of her broken heart weigh him down to the ground.

Still sobbing, Kelvin later said to her, “I am very sorry mother…I am so sorry.” He was crying so hard Mervis could hardly make out the rest of his words.

Broken and alone on the floor, Kelvin told his mother, “come home, I will explain everything when you get here.”

And he let the phone fall from his hand to the floor as he surrendered his body to the emotions threatening to rip him apart.

There was no shelter strong enough to protect him from the storm he had just brewed.

There was no going back.

Her Forgotten Daughter – Part 8

image

Kelvin was smirking down at her. “I was hoping we would start business from the bed but,” he was looking down into her blouse from where her body was touching his…a position she had put herself in during their near-collision.

“We can start from here if that’s what you like,” he finished, and sent Evelyn backing away from him immediately, putting as much distance between them as possible.

“Why are you doing this?” She asked him.

Kelvin entered the room and locked the door behind him. “Because it’s my birthday,” he said nonchalantly as he went to sit on the edge of the bed.

“Come,” he patted the space next to him.

“You must be out of your mind,” Evelyn hissed at him.

Kelvin simply shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

“You really do look hot when you are pissed,” he said. “That’s the same look you had when I saw you standing outside your mother’s house. Dame you looked so edible.” He got up from the bed and walked to where she was.

There was nowhere else to go for Evelyn when she back touched the wall, she knew he had her right where he wanted her to be.

“And you look exactly like that right now,” he said as he slowly ran his finger through the nape of her neck, drawing his face closer she could literally hear every beat of his heart.

“Why are you doing this?” Evelyn lifted her head away from him, hating with all her breath the smell of his perfectly scented expensive cologne and beer.

“I told you, it’s my birthday today…and you are my present.” He said and backed away from her.

Evelyn’s eyes went to the keys he was holding in his other hand. She was shaking with fear but the sight of the keys in his hand gave her some form of hope

Kelvin smiled. “Even if you manage to get your hands on these, there is no way of getting out of this place for you even if you manage to leave these four walls here.”

“What has me being here got to do with your bloody birthday?” She asked.

“Finally, you ask a good question.” He said. “I have spent the past years doing everything possible to avenge the death of my father and sister….”

“What do I have to do with the death of your father and sister? Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know who the hell you were.”

“Me too,” Kelvin said, crossing his arms over his chest. “I didn’t know you existed until a few weeks ago. Meeting you was like receiving manar from heaven.”

“You are clearly drunk,” Evelyn said. “You must have me confused with another person.”

“I might be a little bit drunk but my mind is working perfectly fine,” he said. “If you tell me that you are not the daughter of Beatrice, then I will open that door and every other door in this house and let you leave.”

“Beatrice is not my mother,” she said sternly. “Now can you open the door for me and let me go?”

Kelvin broke into laughter.

“Genes are very cruel. That and DNA,” Kelvin said. “You can’t talk them away into oblivion. They stick to your skin like a tick…sucking the blood out of you until you acknowledge their presence.”

And he continued laughing.

“Are you doing this because of her?” Evelyn shouted over the sound of his laughter.

“Are you doing this because Beatrice did something to your family?”

Kelvin suddenly sobered up and stood up straight. “Finally,” he said.

“Is that it?” Evelyn said, finally realizing why she was being held captive. “If you want to take revenge, why not use your fiancé? Do you think doing me harm will have any effect on Beatrice? You of all people should know just how much she gives a gives a dame about me.”

Kelvin hardened his features and closed the distance between them. With his arms crossed, he looked into her eyes. “I never said anything about punishing Beatrice.” He said.

“Do you have any idea what it’s like to watch your sister die right in front of you and not be able to do anything to save her? Do you?” he asked her.

“You were there….at the accident site?” Evelyn asked.

“I was there. I saw my sister’s husband, your father…and your mother Beatrice. They were all there. God knows what Nora had witnessed inside that place that made her come running out like that. She couldn’t wait to get away from her husband that she drove straight into an oncoming truck.

“How I wish I had died with her that day.”

Evelyn looked horrified. Finally, it seemed she was getting the questions she had had about kelvin answered.

“Like the fool I was, I passed out.” Kelvin laughed at himself. “I passed out,” he repeated. He was smiling and crying at the same time. “My poor father couldn’t handle the guilt. He regretted not having ran to her side when she was in such pain. He thought he was giving her the space she needed. He was wrong. She didn’t need space, she needed him…she needed us. We were right there behind her and we did nothing.”

Evelyn’s legs finally gave way and she went down on her knees, the guilt of her parent’s sins and that of her very existence eating at her core.

“My father died a few days later,” Kelvin said.

Evelyn sobbed on the floor.

“My mother changed after that. She wanted nothing more than to avenge the wrongful deaths of her loved ones. To her, I was no longer a son…I became a weapon she could use in her elaborate plans against your mother.

“I too, I was mad. Mad that I had not done anything for my sister. I always used to tell her that I would be her hero…but no. I turned out to be the worst coward ever.”

“But you were only a boy,” Evelyn tried to reason with him.

“I was old enough to make a difference,” he retorted. “But, I might not have risen to the challenge in the past but I can now. Instead of being mad at my mother for neglecting me…I can finally do something to help my sister rest in peace. You came into my life at the most perfect time possible, like manna from heaven; you landed right in front of me.”

“Do you think that doing me harm will somehow help your sister rest in peace? I am a victim in all this just as much as you. I did not choose my parents.”

“I also didn’t choose to have a sister die at the hands of a selfish and merciless woman. There is such a thing called the price of blood. God used it on the rest of mankind when Adam and Eve sinned so can you imagine what a mere mortal like me is capable of when he’s had his family taken away from him in the most cruel way possible?”

“I understand how you must be feeling right now,” Evelyn got up from the floor and went to stand in front of him.

“No you don’t understand,” Kelvin said. “You have absolutely no idea how I’m feeling right now. You see, today is my birthday…and it also happens to be my sister’s death anniversary.”

Evelyn gasped.

“On this day, my sister found out about your existence. On this same day, she was hit by a track right outside your mother’s place. She died, on this same day. And exactly ten days later, my father gave in to a stroke.”

“Kelvin…” Evelyn was still shaking her head in disbelief as tears streamed down her eyes. “I had no idea…I am so sorry. I…I…don’t know what to say….”

“How about wishing me a happy birthday?” Kelvin said, wiping away the tears from his face with his bare hands.

He closed the space between them and started playing with the buttons of her blouse. He was slowly running his finger up and down.

Evelyn flinched as Kelvin’s hand brushed over her cleavage.

“I understand…that…I am your…your…enemy,” Evelyn stammered. “But…this is not right Kelvin.” She tried to reason with him. “You are not this person….”

“Shut up!” Kelvin snapped. “You don’t know me and you have no right to make assumptions about me.”

Evelyn got down on her knees and pleaded with him. “I will do anything you want but please….” she cried. “Don’t do this to me. I am begging you.”

“Undress,” he commanded her, turning away from her to sit on the bed.

“What?” Evelyn couldn’t believe what she had just heard.

“Take it off,” he was moving his finger up and down at her. “Everything, NOW.”

“Kelvin….”

“Would you like me to help you?” He asked and immediately got up. He walked over to where she was kneeling and unceremoniously scooped her up from the floor by her shoulders and ripped her blouse apart with vengeance.

Evelyn quickly covered her bosom with her hands as she cowered into the nearest corner, pleading with her eyes for him to stop.

“You have two choices,” Kelvin said to her. “I can hand you over to my mother who is an expert in the art of revenge since she’s been doing it for such a long time. God knows what she would do to you if she discovers your existence. She was somehow misled into believing that you had been abandoned by your mother at an orphanage.

“You were very ugly when you were a baby,” he laughed. “So naturally, everyone assumed you were a boy when your mother showed up with you at my sister’s funeral. You can go to that orphanage and find out what happened to that boy she mistook for you. I am sure you would think of my methods as angelic when you do the comparisons. OR, you can surrender to me.”

“What do you mean surrender to you?” Evelyn asked, still covering her exposed parts with her arms.

“Be my mistress.” Kelvin stated.

“Are you nuts!” Evelyn yelled.

“Alright then, I will take it that you’ve gone for option A. I will make a call to my dear mother then. I am sure you have heard about her reputation through the grapevine. I can assure you, she does not disappoint.”

He then turned to leave the room.

“Wait,” Evelyn stopped him.

Kelvin immediately obliged her, a smirk playing on his face as he turned back to face her.

Evelyn had heard enough about Mrs Kangwa’s power and influence in the political world. It was enough to scare her ovaries into infertility all the way into her next life. Together with Mr Mwangala, the two of them controlled the power in the country like King and Queen from two opposing fronts.

Whereas her rival was known to bankrupt his enemies and potential threats, Mrs Kangwa was known to eliminate from the face of the earth anything or any person she considered a potential threat. Even though no proof was ever brought against her, that fact in itself was enough to scare away any potential danger in her way.

“What does being your mistress entail?” Evelyn asked.

“It means that you will belong only to me and not any man or woman out there. You will appear before me whenever I call, you will surrender your body, mind and soul to me, you will bear my children if I feel like it and you will not tell a soul about this arrangement. I don’t think there’s any need for me to get into the details of what might happen to you the moment you decide to divulge any of this to anyone.”

“How long…how long do you need me to be your mistress?”

“Until such a time I get tired of you.”

“No!” Evelyn protested. “What if that never happens?”

Kelvin scoffed. “Don’t flatter yourself too much young lady,” he said sarcastically. “You will get your freedom whenever I feel like. The more you antagonize me, the longer and the more painful your stay with me will be.”

“And what if someone finds out that I am your mistress? You should know, nothing residing under the sun can stay hidden forever.”

“Let me worry about that. You just worry about doing your part. Now, take off the rest of that. The longer you take, the longer the night will be, for the both of us. Your choice.”

Evelyn thought about his offer for a while. She was clearly stuck between a rock and a hard place and she stood to lose her soul no matter the direction she took from that point on.

“I don’t think I can do this,” she finally said.

“Do what?” Kelvin asked.

“Being your mistress,” she answered. “I think I am going to take my chances with your mother.”

“What?” Kelvin laughed. “I have spent the past twenty years trying to take my chances with her and here I am still doing her bidding. Do you think that she would even give you a chance to get a single word out?

“The moment she discovers who you are, she will wipe out everyone you’ve ever cared about, all your friends and family. She is already working on your family right now as we speak, only a matter of time before she gets to your friends.”

“I guess lunacy runs in the family then,” Evelyn said as she looked at him disdainfully.

“Are you going to take off your clothes or not?”

“Do you think that doing this to me will bring back your father and sister?”

Kelvin rushed over to her and glared into her eyes. “Do you think I am doing this for revenge?” He yelled.

“Then why are you doing this?” Evelyn yelled back at him.

“Because it’s the only thing I can do that I have complete power over.” He calmly said. Because I am the only one who gets to decide what happens in this room and what happens to you; not you, not my mother, and not anyone else out there.

“And most importantly, because I have this physical ache, a thirst that I have been dying to quench from the moment I saw you and thanks to your mother, I have the licence to drink from you for as long as I like. So let’s take whatever happens in this room tonight as a sent to me by my dearly departed sister Nora…and let’s try to enjoy ourselves as much as possible.”

Kelvin proceeded to grab her arms and forced them apart to reveal her ample bosom which was well packaged and displayed in a black bra.

He moved her towards him so that she was now resting against him while he unfastened her bra behind.

Evelyn tried to put her arms back to cover her breasts but to no avail. She was no match for Kelvin’s determined hands. He quickly yanked the bra from off of her and threw it on the floor, completely exposing her upper body.

“You have the best pair I have ever seen on any woman,” he was hungrily starring at her whilst holding her hands in check.

Kelvin had successfully managed to damage whatever little pride she had been functioning on from the time her mother had out-rightly rejected her.

Two thick drops of tears fell from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.

Evelyn felt her life slowly slip away from her. 

“Your trousers, take off your pants as well,” Kelvin said. “Unless you want me to help with those too.”

Evelyn felt every urge to wipe the smirk off his face but instead, she hang her head down and tasted the flavours of her salty tears.

Is this all I will amount to in this lifetime? She cried as she brought her shaking hands to her pair of trousers and undid the button while he watched her a short distance away.

Evelyn cried even harder as she felt the pair of trousers slid all the way to the floor.

“The pant too,” Kelvin instructed.

Before she knew it, she was standing completely naked in front of him while he slowly took in every inch of her.

“On the bed,” he gave her his back as he walked to position himself closer to the bed. He stood to the side with his arms crossed over his chest. “Come and lie down here,” he said.

“Do you think that degrading me like me will give you the satisfaction that you are looking for?” She said from where she was standing. “This only proves what a coward you are,” she fired on. “You have been controlled by a woman all your life and you are still letting a woman control you right now.”

He scoffed. “Says the woman standing completely naked in front of me.”

“You might have me like this but you will always remember that you never had me willingly. What sort of man doesn’t even have the balls to get a woman to willingly take off her clothes for him? You are the worst kind of coward scum.”

Kelvin was reeling in anger. He went at her, grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to the bed.

He threw her down on the bed and positioned himself on top of her.

Instead of begging him like she had been doing before, Evelyn was laughing.

That caught him by surprise.

She was mocking him. Kelvin could see it in her eyes.

“You might have my body tonight but you will never have my soul. I will never come to you willingly. Keep that in your mind as you thrust your cowardly body on top of me.”

“Shut up!” Kelvin yelled and landed his mouth hard on hers but he could still hear her laughing at him.

“You think that you are punishing me for Beatrice’s sins, well you are not.” Evelyn said when Kelvin had paused to glare at her.

“She is still winning,” Evelyn continued. “She has successfully managed to kill another Kangwa; turned a perfect gentleman into a monster. Go ahead; put the crown on her head and let her control you just like your mother has done all these years.”

Kelvin raised his hand into a fist and just when she thought he was going to land a hard one on her face, he hit the space right next to where her head was lying and he jumped off from her.

He was breathing hard and heavy, and sweating profusely.

Evelyn quickly went for the white sheets and covered herself while Kelvin appeared to be struggling with calming himself down.

He was hunched over, his back to her and his hands resting on his knees, deeply breathing in and out.

Evelyn took this opportunity to search for the keys, but they were nowhere in sight; not even his phone.

She looked over at him and saw something bulging slightly from his pockets.

What time did he put them in their? She wondered.

She was contemplating hitting him from behind when Kelvin raised his back and stood up straight very so suddenly. He turned around and went at her in a fit of furry. He grabbed her on both sides of her arms as she was wrapped in a sheet and he brought her to stand down on the floor in front of him.

“Do you think that I can’t make you fall for me on your own?” He roared at her.

“Let me go, you are hurting me,” Evelyn protested.

Kelvin lessened the pressure of his grip…but he did not let go of her.

“I am only going easy on you today because I am too upset to think rationally. I might do something to you that I might regret later.”

“I think that boat has already sailed,” Evelyn retorted.

“Don’t play smart with me,” he thundered down on her. “You might have saved yourself tonight but nothing has changed. You are still going to be my mistress. I will be marrying your step-sister in the next couple of weeks and you will be your step-sister’s concubine. Tell me, do you still feel like a winner?”

His face was so close to hers she could see the hairs in his nose if she chose to. But Evelyn had her eyes shut as she desperately tried to look away from him.

Unfortunately for her, Kelvin had one of his hands holding the back of her head which was ensuring that she stayed locked in position.

The next thing she knew, he pushed her back and she fell on her back on the bed.

“Put some clothes on. I will bring your phone so you can call your housemate and tell her you won’t be coming home tonight.”

He had already turned his back to her and was heading towards the door.

“I have never slept out from the time we started living together.” Evelyn shouted. “Do you think she will believe me if I tell her that I am sleeping out all of a sudden?”

Kelvin turned to face her. “She will believe you,” he said in a very tight and controlled voice. “Because you will make it so that she believes every word.”

“You want me to spend the night here?” Evelyn was about ready to start crying all over again. She thought her nightmare was almost coming to an end.

“My birthday isn’t over yet,” Kelvin said and turned to leave, locking the door behind him.

Alone in his room, Kelvin ripped his shirt off and threw it on the ground. He quickly got out of his pants and went straight into the shower, allowing the water to fall on him with his head bowed and his hand touching the wall. He remained like that for close to ten minutes, not lifting a figure to wash himself.

An hour later, he appeared before Evelyn in a fresh change of clothes; a white t-shirt and grey skinny jeans. 

Noticing the tray of food in his hands, Evelyn starred at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding me?” She asked.

She had put her pair of trousers back on but she still had her upper body covered with a bed sheet.

Kelvin laid down the tray containing a plate of macaroni and cheese and some orange juice. Her phone was also there.

Evelyn tried to grab her phone from there but Kelvin was too quick for her. He removed the white shirt resting on his shoulders and threw it at her.

“At least finish dressing.” He told her.

Evelyn examined his shirt with a disgusted look on her face.

“You covered yourself well in my beddings. Which of the two do you think has witnessed more horrors than the other; the bedsheets or the shirt?”

He seemed to have made the decision easy for her. She turned around and put the shirt on, quickly dropping the bed sheet to the floor.

“You disgust me,” she said when she turned to look at him.

Kelvin gave her a mischievous smile. “Keep hating, I’ll have you know, there’s a thin line between love and hate. I am actually quite a nice guy when I am not exerting revenge on anyone.”

“I thought you said this was not revenge?”

“I lied.” He nonchalantly responded. “It’s both, it’s everything. Do you think you would be in this room if you were not Beatrice’s daughter? Anyway, you need to call your friend before she calls the police. She has already left you countless messages and missed calls.”

“Give me the phone.” She reached out her hand.

Kelvin laughed, “Do you think am stupid?” he asked her. “I will dial her number, put it on speaker and then hold it for you while you talk. And just in case you think about doing something stupid, think about what could have possibly happened during the time you had lost consciousness. In a world of technology and social media…there are countless possibilities.”

Evelyn appeared to be at a loss for words. She simply gaped at him in utter disbelief.

“Here,” Kelvin held out the phone to her. “Move closer,” he instructed her. “I know you have a knack for acting before thinking…this is not going to be one of those times.” He warned her.

There was terror written all over Evelyn’s face as she waited for Thando to pick up the call, thinking hard about what she was going to say to her.

Kelvin gestured for her to smile and she did as instructed.

“Eva, where the hell are you? Are you okay?” Thando went off at her the moment she answered the call.

Evelyn feigned a laugh. “Calm down Thando. I am okay. I am sorry I missed your calls. My battery had died and I only managed to charge it now.”

“Where the hell are you?”

“I am at a friend’s house in Makeni.”

“Makeni?”

Evelyn winced in pain at Thando’s assault of her eardrums.

“Yes, it’s someone I had not seen in a long time. We bumped into each other at the bus stop while I was waiting for a bus and she we just decided to hang out.”

“But which friend is this one? I thought I knew all of your friends Eva? Are you keeping secrets from me?” Evelyn could hear the laugh in her voice. Her friend’s mind had already wondered off.

Well at least she seemed to be buying her story…or whatever version was cooking up in her imaginative mind.

“It’s nothing like whatever you are thinking.” Evelyn told her friend.

“Okay, I won’t hound you tonight,” Thando relented. “Just tell whatever guy you are with that I don’t approve of his methods. He should first reach home before he can think about getting his hands on you.”

“It’s nothing like that Tha…” Evelyn then paused to look at whatever Kelvin was gesturing for her to do. “I was only calling to let you know that I am safe. I will see you tomorrow, okay?”

“You better call me in the morning before I die from curiosity. Have fun my darling!”

“Good night.” And Kelvin ended the call.

“That wasn’t so difficult now was it? I think am starting to like your friend.”

“Well she hates you, if you must know. She thinks you are up to no good and guess what, she was right.”

“Eat your food before it gets cold.” He turned to leave.

“Why are you keeping me here if you won’t do anything to me?”

Kelvin stopped. “Who said I wasn’t going to do anything?”

“I understand why you hate me,” she said. “I know that I am the physical manifestation of everything that went wrong with your sister, with your father…and with your mother.  But you know what; I don’t think it’s me you are mad at.”

Kelvin finally turned to look at her. “Enlighten me,” he said. “Who do you think I am mad at?”

“Beatrice my mother, your mother, and yourself.”

Kelvin appeared amused by her hypothesis. “Like I said, enlighten me.” He said, and moved to lean his back against the door.

“You are upset at Beatrice because of obvious reasons,” Evelyn started. “And you are upset at your mother because she changed after your father and sister’s death. You said it yourself, you became nothing but a tool for her to use. You are mad at yourself because you feel like you let your sister down.

“The only reason I am in this room is because I am the easiest target for you to vent on. You can get to Beatrice whenever you want because your mother has the final say on everything. You can’t rebel against your mother because she is the only family you have left and there is a part of you that wants to revenge as much as much as she does…and so, you just let her take charge.

“And as for yourself, let’s face it; you would have killed yourself a long time ago if you had the balls to do it. You brought me here for the simple reason that you need a scapegoat for your feelings of failure.”

“For someone with a two digit IQ, you seem to have quite a lot say.” Kelvin said.

“I mean not be book intelligent but I am street smart,” she fired back. “And you know I am right.”

“No you are not,” Kelvin said. Even he didn’t look like he was convinced by his response.

“Eat your food and go to bed,” he instructed, looking about ready to leave the room.

“What if I made you a proposal?” Evelyn said. “Would you be willing to think about it?”

“What sort of proposal?” He asked. “Nothing you say will change the fact that you are already mine.”

Evelyn looked defeated, from head to toe. She dropped down to the floor and sobbed the moment she was alone in the room.

Right outside the door, Kelvin listened to her sobbing with his hand clutched over his heart. He blinked away the tears, cleared his throat and walked upstairs to his study.

Throwing himself down into his chair behind his desk, Kelvin’s phone rang.

It was Moola.

He muted the call and then turned off his phone, a blank expression on his face as he sat back and watched the hands of time on the wall clock ahead tick-tock away.